We had an epic day at Carrigan Farms today. In three hours, we managed to play in the pumpkin patch, apple orchard, and cornfields. We also saw farm animals up close and ate our lunch lakeside. I didn't anticipate doing as much as we did, but everyone was in fairly good spirits so we persevered. The pumpkin patch was crowded with school groups, but the rest of the farm was desolate. There were also no signs or directions at all. We wandered aimlessly without passing a single person almost the entire three hours. At times, it almost felt like we were trespassing, but nothing was blocked off.
Our day began at the pumpkin patch. Unlike our most recent pumpkin patch excursion, this was a true farm with vast fields full of pumpkins growing on vines.
Jackson appreciated all pumpkins equally, including those growing on vines as well as those cracked open and rotting.
James has been pretty fussy lately (which is a whole post in itself), so he wasn't especially fond of any pumpkin. He collapsed onto the ground sobbing when I took him out of the wagon; then threw the pumpkin that I handed him in the wagon.
Maddie was the most interactive with the pumpkins. She really enjoyed hugging, rolling, and resting her feet on them.
Of all pumpkins, Jackson wanted this one because he liked all of the seeds.
I had to remind him that all pumpkins have seeds inside them and we would roast pumpkin seeds next week. After meticulously looking through the fields, we found this perfectly round, unblemished pumpkin. I would have actually bought it if I had remembered to stop and get cash.
Jack asked if he could go on a hay ride. There's no way I could have managed that by myself with all four kids, and I didn't even see anyone available to drive the tractor. His compromise was to sit on the hay.
According to the website, apple picking closes in September. However, I nearly assaulted a family when I saw them carrying a clear bag of apples. Quick investigation proved that the farm was still selling apples. I didn't actually care to pick apples today; I just wanted to show Jackson how apples grow.
Most of the apples were on the ground. Some were completely rotten, others looked perfectly edible. I did not let the trio out of the wagon because I didn't want them sliding on smashed apples or trying to eat them.
Jackson plucked an apple right off the tree. I immediately felt guilty since we weren't going to buy a bushel, but I don't think they'll notice one missing apple amidst a sea of decaying apples.
After meandering through the apple orchard, we found ourselves atop a hill with a lake. The scenery was too incredible not to stay a while. We enjoyed a light lunch by the lake.
As I said, there were no signs or directions whatsoever. The weather was beautiful and the kids were happy, so we continued walking. Our leisure stroll turned into a sweat-inducing hike to this quarry/swimming hole. It looked so out of place compared to the rest of the farm.
As challenging as the uphill hike was, I nearly lost control of the wagon zooming back down. We took the long way around the lake and accidentally discovered the animals' pen. There were rabbits, sheep, goats, and pigs.
The pig pen was a natural way to discuss life on the farm, particularly feeding livestock the food that is grown on the farm. Jackson eagerly pointed out the corn and apples.
Our final farm sighting was watching a tractor plow the corn field.
Jackson waved around corn husks. We didn't take any, but now that I'm writing this, I can think of all the crafts and recipes we could create using corn husks (tamales, dolls, wreaths, etc).
Our day at the farm exceeded my expectations. The babies would have been just as happy in our backyard, but it was fun to see Jackson so animated and ask lots of questions. I am loving our "field trips" this year!